Surface Detail

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Surface Detail
When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death.

Publisher: New York : Orbit, c2010
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 0316123412
Branch Call Number: SCI-FI B
Characteristics: 627 p. ; 25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Mar 03, 2015
  • starkradio rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I love Iain Banks, and am really unhappy about his death last year, which came too soon, too soon.

This is an extraordinary book.

Jul 09, 2014
  • GregKush rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you're reading other books in the Culture series, you won't want to miss this one. The story is complex and very rich, adding one of the more original ideas I've come across in some time in science fiction: virtual Hell and the concept that the Hells of different galactic races are somewhat intertwined. This is handled with more than a passing notion -- there's serious attention paid into some key characters in this virtual realm.

For this book to really have the most meaning, you're best off reading "Consider Phlebas" and "Use of Weapons" first. There's enough background from those two books to make this one feel that much richer.

Aug 01, 2012
  • monikak1 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Read about a quarter of book. Not my style. Very confusing

May 10, 2012
  • ptupper rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

After enjoying "Matter" a great deal, I didn't like Banks' follow-up Culture novel as much.

While "Matter" had several parallel plots, "Surface Detail" has a lot of tangled plots that only loosely interconnect. Banks also develops a bad habit of jumping around in time in a single scene, when there's no particular reason not to tell the scene in a linear way.

There are also some logic problems. Much of the story revolves around the concept of Hells, virtual afterlives of punishment and torment. Some activists infiltrate their society's Hell in order report back what really happens. We're later told that the Hell's real purpose to make the living behave properly from fear of punishment. If so, why is what happens in Hell kept secret?


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at NYPL


Other Formats

Buy It Now

Support your library, keep it forever!

View Purchase Options Learn more about this program

Your Cart

Hello! We noticed you have the following items in your cart right now:

If you'd still like to purchase the items you have in your cart, you can do that now.

You'll be able to purchase your eBook after you have checked out your current cart.

Surface Detail
Banks, Iain, 1954-2013
Surface Detail

To continue with your eBook purchase immediately, you can clear your cart by clicking below.

All items will be removed from your cart.

I'd like to keep browsing! I'll decide later.

Explore Further

Browse the Shelf

Subject Headings